While William Waldo Cameron, of Waco, Texas, is probably the youngest lumberman in the United States having so large a capital invested in his business, nevertheless his judgment in the conduct of the great mills and wholesale and retail lumber interests in which he is the chief executive is considered excellent by those who know him well.
William Waldo Cameron was born August 1, 1878, at Waco, Texas. He was educated at the Agricultural and Mechanical College, at College Station, Texas, one of the leading educational institutions of the Lone Star State. Upon the completion of his course there he took a postgraduate course at San Albans University, at Radford, Virginia. He then returned to Waco and spent a year with the Slayden-Kirksey Woolen Mills. He spent the six following years learning the lumber business in the office of William Cameron & Co.
Immediately upon the death of his father, William Cameron, which occurred February 6, 1899, the young man was called upon to act as president of William Cameron & Company, Incorporated. The corporation had been formed pursuant to his father's expressed desire that the business be continued by the Cameron family. He assumed the management of his father's Texas properties and compactly organized the yellow pine mill department, the pine timber holdings, the wholesale lumber business and the line yards into one corporation with a capital of $2,400,000. His direct associates in the business are his mother, Mrs. Flora B. Cameron, and his sisters, Mrs. Flora M. Baird and Miss Margaret Cameron. The original Cameron fortune, before the division of the estate, exceeded $5,000,000 and was equally divided among the four here named and two other married sisters of Mr. Cameron.
The yellow pine mills owned outright and operated by this company are at Saron, Rockland, Angelina, Carmona and Haysland, all in the east Texas region. The yellow pine mills are owned absolutely by the Waco company, as are the retail yards and wholesale business. The retail yards are at San Angelo, Brownwood, Waco, Marlin, Fort Worth, Wichita Falls, Vernon, Quanah and Childress, Texas; Ryan, Marlow, Rush Springs, Chickasha and Comanche, Indian Territory, and Hobart, Anadarko, Mountain View and Mangum, Oklahoma Territory. The yards are in the hands of capable managers and are conducted on the same general lines as are the other departments of the company. The wholesale department is entirely distinct from the mills or the line of retail yards, and caters to the railroad and general consuming trade, including an extensive business in the western states as well as in Texas and Mexico.
Mr. Cameron, in addition to being so largely identified with these lumber interests, is a director in the Slayden-Kirksey Woolen Mills, in the New Auditorium Company, both at Waco, and in the Country Club. He is president of the Texas Lumber Company, an Illinois corporation owning large tracts of yellow pine land in Texas; of the Cameron Lumber Mills Company, at Carmona, Texas, and of the Whitecastle Lumber & Shingle Company, at Whitecastle, Louisiana. He is secretary of the Swinden Pecan Orchard Company and an active and prominent member of the Texas Lumbermen's Association. He takes a personal interest in the progress of his native city and is always active and foremost in every movement having for its object the welfare of Waco, subscribing liberally to the upbuilding of that city and setting aside a considerable sum annually for charity.
In January, 1901, he was united in marriage to Miss Faith Darling Baird, of Buffalo, New York, whose brother, Frank Baird, had married Mr. Cameron's sister three or four months previous. Mr., and Mrs. Cameron reside on Austin avenue, Waco, in the old home of the Cameron family. One child has been born to them.
Since he has assumed charge of the lumber and other properties left by his father, William Waldo Cameron has materially augmented the family fortune. The great increase in the lumber business of the company is due largely to his personal supervision and to the able work of his lieutenants, and the future of William Cameron & Company, Incorporated, is full of promise. The large timber holdings and the excellent mills owned by the company have greatly enhanced in value during the last few years, and within the same time the wholesale business and the retail yard department have grown steadily and added their share to the increased gains. It is safe to say that the company has made splendid profits in all its departments and that, under young Mr. Cameron's executive control, the $2,400,000 has been nearly doubled. Certainly William Waldo Cameron has demonstrated that mental discipline may be obtained from money-getting as real as that which is gained from mathematics. "The soul is trained by the ledger as much as by the calculus and can get exercise in the account of sales as much as in account of stars."
Although the possessor of so large wealth, William Waldo Cameron displays none of the arrogance and pride that so often accompany the ownership of riches. He is plain and unassuming, and in his relations with people of less fortunate circumstances there is no indication of any feeling of condescension. This admirable trait of character has endeared him to his friends and associates, as has also his other predominating trait his unbounded confidence in his intimate friends. He has no secrets apart from them, conversing without the least reserve concerning his own business and personal affairs. Among those who know him best in his own town and state he is most popular and is invariably spoken of in the highest terms.
His vast interests are conducted by clean business methods and with that good judgment and keen discernment that characterized his father's operations. He seems to have inherited from his father those business traits that were potential factors in William Cameron's success in building up the mammoth business which is now so creditably continued by the son. Mr. Cameron has often made the statement to friends that he has no desire to heap up more riches for himself, as he does not care for money beyond what is necessary to supply the comforts of life to his family; but he devotes his life to carrying on and increasing the business bequeathed to himself, his mother and his sisters because he considers it a sacred trust left to his keeping by his father, and because by its proper conduct he may be of genuine service to the community.